When is an ACC game not an ACC game? League exploring all scheduling options

The Clemson Sports Blog

SEFTON IPOCK INDEPENDENT MAIL
Clemson safety Korrin Wiggins returns an interception against Virginia at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., last Saturday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock, Independent Mail

SEFTON IPOCK INDEPENDENT MAIL Clemson safety Korrin Wiggins returns an interception against Virginia at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., last Saturday.

When is a conference game not a conference game?

Whenever the ACC says it isn't.

The option of playing conference opponents as non-conference games was one of the more novel ideas that surfaced at the recent ACC spring meetings, as conference schools struggle with the logistics and dynamics of future scheduling options, given the league's 14-team roster and its partnership with Notre Dame.

The concept is not foreign to the ACC, where baseball teams have on occasion played games against league opponents that rotate off their schedules. Earlier this season, rivals Miami and Florida State - who did not face each other in league play - played a three-game series at Tallahassee.

North Carolina had a mid-season game scheduled at Durham against NC State, though that game was rained out and not rescheduled.

The option of playing non-league games against conference opponents would possibly satisfy concerns of a program like Syracuse, which, by being assigned to the Atlantic Division, will have little opportunity to play Coastal Division teams like Miami.

"Everything's on the table," Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross told ESPN.

"I think all the coaches felt like playing each other more, if there was a model for that, we'd be open to it," NC State coach Dave Doeren said. "When we don't have to play Notre Dame, playing Duke or Virginia or somebody from the Coastal that we don't play will be a discussion we want to have."

Under the current set-up, it was noted that N.C. State will play Notre Dame, which is on a three-year rotation, more often than it will play next-door-neighbor Duke.

Another option that could come to the forefront is a novel 3-5/5 model propose by the Raleigh News & Observer, in which each school would have three permanent partners, and then would rotate, playing five additional teams in one year, and the other five in the next.

Brandon Rink explained the concept more thoroughly in an article earlier this month:

'The ACC has already petitioned the NCAA to “deregulate” conference championship game rules, which currently call for a minimum of 12 teams and representatives of each division in the final.

One model tossed around is pitting the conference’s top-two teams regardless of division, which would then make divisions kind of pointless.

Another that could gain some traction with the 14-team ACC and momentum for better rotation is: three permanent opponents and two groups of five for each team that rotate home-and-home every two years (or every other).

Raleigh’s News & Observer laid out reasons for the three-by-five scheme and at least one way it could be configured.

Joe Giglio had Clemson’s three partners as Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia – playing N.C. State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Miami in one rotation and UNC, Duke, Syracuse, Boston College and Pitt in the other.

It would require the ACC to break the mold, which they can’t currently by NCAA rules, but for a league as unwieldy as any after expansion, some changes in that legislation would present a far better solution than the 6-1-1.'

Stay tuned on this one. Depending on how things unfold with NCAA deregulation, it's likely that more changes are ahead.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 8

lhaselden writes:

I think Clemson should have GaT, FSU and NCSt as permanent rivals in the 3/5/5 format....

Xander5000 writes:

I think that whole idea would just be stupid and a waste of time. Not to mention, it will cause mass confusion to folks who won't know if an ACC game will count or not. That leads to unecessary arguing and debating....etc.
I don't want to go down the road that we are that weak of a conference that we have to play ourselves in games that won't count, only to try to bump up our schedule difficulty, which will only be *A TAD*. Just need to keep trying to play all the D-I programs, that are respectable, who are not scared to play us and vice versa. In other words, I would rather play Wisconsin six years in a row than to play a fellow ACC team once that will not count or get any respectability as far as strength of schedule goes.

lhaselden writes:

I think the idea is that Duke and NCSt want to play each other more often than the current 6/1/1 model, I would rather play Miami in a non conference game than Wisconsin.. I do not think the strength of schedule is the factor... it is about getting exposure in South Florida for recruiting... Syracuse wants to play more in South Florida and in Virginia for recruiting exposure.

Xander5000 writes:

in response to lhaselden:

I think the idea is that Duke and NCSt want to play each other more often than the current 6/1/1 model, I would rather play Miami in a non conference game than Wisconsin.. I do not think the strength of schedule is the factor... it is about getting exposure in South Florida for recruiting... Syracuse wants to play more in South Florida and in Virginia for recruiting exposure.

I"m truly fine with trying to get the exposure but the games should count. We give with these Division II teams enough exposure to rival what Duke and Syracuse is trying to do. Heck Syracuse and Pitt just got in the league....things are going to take time to get things rotated correctly and fairly. Any ACC game played should count. If Pitt ran the table in the ACC and come up short of a playoff spot because of politics, schedule,..etc... but they end up having a victory against a nonconference team like Oregon or LSU that will surely trump anything the ACC has to offer, according to media and all....they would look at that game to count as a springboard to a playoff spot.
We all should be equal when D-I is playing D-I. When a D-I team has 3 victories over D-II teams in one year, then how should that count that a shot at the title is deserved? If the ACC does this new idea then they will be selling themselves short.

Look at Chickenlina, how many times have they played Alabama since joining the SEC? Yet all their other games count and they get exposure and hype. Got to figure out a way to get exposure and have the games count.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to Xander5000:

I think that whole idea would just be stupid and a waste of time. Not to mention, it will cause mass confusion to folks who won't know if an ACC game will count or not. That leads to unecessary arguing and debating....etc.
I don't want to go down the road that we are that weak of a conference that we have to play ourselves in games that won't count, only to try to bump up our schedule difficulty, which will only be *A TAD*. Just need to keep trying to play all the D-I programs, that are respectable, who are not scared to play us and vice versa. In other words, I would rather play Wisconsin six years in a row than to play a fellow ACC team once that will not count or get any respectability as far as strength of schedule goes.

It's certainly stupid but not a waste of time. It's embarrassing to the conference that this has to happen. It has nothing to do with being weak as a conference. It has to do with members of the conference who, unlike Clemson, actually WANT to play all the members of their conference! Syracuse doesn't want to schedule additional ACC games b/c no one else will play them. They have no problem finding teams to play. They want to play those ACC games b/c that's the reason they joined the conference in the first place. Conference expansion was all about media markets. Syracuse wants to play in Atlanta and Miami b/c of the media markets. You have to remember that they also were in the Big East with Miami for 12 years and played them every year. Since Syracuse is stuck in the Atlantic, they're only going to visit Atlanta or Miami once every 12 years. Why would they want to go play in Madison WI and the 85th ranked TV market when they can play in Atlanta and the 8th biggest TV market?

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to Xander5000:

I"m truly fine with trying to get the exposure but the games should count. We give with these Division II teams enough exposure to rival what Duke and Syracuse is trying to do. Heck Syracuse and Pitt just got in the league....things are going to take time to get things rotated correctly and fairly. Any ACC game played should count. If Pitt ran the table in the ACC and come up short of a playoff spot because of politics, schedule,..etc... but they end up having a victory against a nonconference team like Oregon or LSU that will surely trump anything the ACC has to offer, according to media and all....they would look at that game to count as a springboard to a playoff spot.
We all should be equal when D-I is playing D-I. When a D-I team has 3 victories over D-II teams in one year, then how should that count that a shot at the title is deserved? If the ACC does this new idea then they will be selling themselves short.

Look at Chickenlina, how many times have they played Alabama since joining the SEC? Yet all their other games count and they get exposure and hype. Got to figure out a way to get exposure and have the games count.

When it comes to a playoff, the committee will probably look at it with criteria similar to basketball. Who did you play? Who did you beat? Whether it counts in the conference standings or not is irrelevant to a playoff.

As far as things getting rotated fairly, it's not going to happen thanks to the schedule staying at 8. A 9th game would've made it where everyone cycles through all opponents in 3 years and plays in every venue every 6 years. The 3-5 format that the media keeps pushing cycles through every opponent every 2 years and every venue every 4 years. The problem is that the 3-5 model only works by throwing out the divisional alignments and requires approval from the NCAA which probably would never come without the other conferences being on board. Adding an extra conference game does not.

The reason that these schools are going ahead with the "non-conference conference" games is b/c Clemson and FSU decided that they would rather play home games against the Citadel than play an extra coastal opponent.

Xander5000 writes:

Not getting to play everyone was bound to happen when you add more teams to your conference. Its like you marry a woman with 4 or 5 kids. You love her to marry her but you know there are going to be times or seasons that you are not going to get to eat the way or as much as you used to. Why?...because you got to think of the well being of those kids.
So now it looks like the nonconference games that we so long wanted to see such as a Clemson vs a Texas or a Florida St. vs an Oregon on a home and home agreement would flirt doing away with that so we can play everybody in the ACC.
Might as well just make it where it looks sort of like a NFL schedule. Except don't play everyone in your conference or division twice, just expand the number of conference games to 10 or 12. Then rotate the next year...where the ones you played on the road last year you now play at home this year. The teams you haven't played at all....you will play them in every 2 years and go from there. Then at the end of all the conference games...have the conference championship...then the bowls or playoff games if you get in. Ohhhh thats right can't have that many football games on a college athlete. Well I see this going back to square one and down-sizing like when they had the old Big 8 conference. This thing has gotten too big with too much money involved to satisfy everyone.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to Xander5000:

Not getting to play everyone was bound to happen when you add more teams to your conference. Its like you marry a woman with 4 or 5 kids. You love her to marry her but you know there are going to be times or seasons that you are not going to get to eat the way or as much as you used to. Why?...because you got to think of the well being of those kids.
So now it looks like the nonconference games that we so long wanted to see such as a Clemson vs a Texas or a Florida St. vs an Oregon on a home and home agreement would flirt doing away with that so we can play everybody in the ACC.
Might as well just make it where it looks sort of like a NFL schedule. Except don't play everyone in your conference or division twice, just expand the number of conference games to 10 or 12. Then rotate the next year...where the ones you played on the road last year you now play at home this year. The teams you haven't played at all....you will play them in every 2 years and go from there. Then at the end of all the conference games...have the conference championship...then the bowls or playoff games if you get in. Ohhhh thats right can't have that many football games on a college athlete. Well I see this going back to square one and down-sizing like when they had the old Big 8 conference. This thing has gotten too big with too much money involved to satisfy everyone.

Why can't you play your big non-conference game? I don't get it. ND is contractually bound to play once every 3 years. Schedule a home and away series in between with someone (Auburn, UGA, whoever). All you're really doing is replacing the Citadel with a coastal opponent. That's it. Why everyone thinks everything has to be radically changed is beyond me.

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